I managed to finish Ken's outfit rather early in the day yesterday. Like I said in that post, I only had to do some finishing up and repair work, and they shockingly managed to get done rather quickly. And since I had time to kill I ended up doing more online research trying to find something that would inspire me to work on another doll that's waiting to be dressed. I didn't find too much, I've scoured so many sources that I'm running out of places to look. But I did find something I liked, something for Skooter, which was shocking. It was actually something very similar to what I tried for her the last time I made something for her, but somewhat different. I feel like what I made last time was a step in the right direction, but not the exact thing I wanted. I had felt the outfit was looking a little boring, this new look was much more ... visually interesting?, for a lack of a better description. I did want to start working last night, but it was late when I found it and since I was going to have some pattern adapting I decided to hold off until the morning.
Today I started working on it. I actually started off with some practice pieces. You see, the design required a pleated skirt. Now these should be old hat by now since I've made those at least a hundred times by now. But I've been noticing that my pleated skirts have become rather... straight. Since I figured out a way to make the back seams line up better there's not really much flounce to my skirts. They've stopped flaring out at the bottom and just look like a straight skirt with some pleated detailing, which I am not happy about. So I decided to look at how I make them and see if there's something I can to do fix that issue. I made a test piece and played around with it. I tried multiple things, and I really couldn't figure out the ideal fix for my problem. I even did a Google search to see if maybe I was missing out on some part of how real pleated skirts are made to help them flair out, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I turned to my own collection. I did have that pleated skirt that originally made for Sindy that was being worn by my Midge doll. It had a nice flair to it, so I used that to see how they did it. Looking at the back I could see that instead of regular pleats there was a triangle of unpleated fabric on both sides of the back hem. This give the fabric enough of a flair at the bottom to help push out the skirt. So that's what I did to my skirt. I cut out a rectangle from the red calico I was going to make Skooter's jumper out of, hemmed it, cut the corners at an angle, then pleated from there. Fun fact, adding the triangles at the back throws off the hem. It ended up being a bit longer at the back than at the front. Annoying, but now that I know I can take that into consideration from now on.
I didn't bother dealing with it at that exact moment. Instead I worked on finishing the jumper, adding the waistband, ironing the pleats, then adding the straps. To add the straps I used those buttons that I bought a while back, I won't lie, I love those buttons, they're just so awesome, and make my sewing look more realistic. Anyway, I got all the buttons sewed on, then did all the seam reinforcement and adding the snap in the back. By the way I stuck a spare shirt of Skooter when I was doing all this as a place holder for the real shirt I haven't made yet. I'd hate to do all this work and not have her jumper fit over the shirt. When that was all done, I focused on the hem issue. I ended up ripping out the original hem and hand sewing it back in, after I manually adjusted the back so it was the same length as the front. It was annoying, but didn't take too much time, and it does look good. And the new way I made the skirt does make it flair out how I like it, I think this will be my new way to make these skirts, even if I do have to hand hem them from now on. The final product will be worth it in the end.
When the jumper was done, it was time to work on the shirt. I had decided that I wanted to use that Barbie pattern that I used for Midge's shirt for this outfit, just resized for Skooter, but when I tried to do that on the computer it was a terrible mess. So I ended up doing it by hand, just comparing her measurements to Barbie's and adapting how I saw fit. I made a quick test piece, and after a few more tweaks decided I had a workable enough pattern to use the real fabric. I decided to use that red dotted Swiss fabric. You may remember that last time I tried using it, it was a disaster because it was so thin, but I decided to just fully line the shirt so I could use it. The original pattern calls for a facing for the neckline, but since this new pattern was so much smaller, it was just easier to line the entire thing.
It went together okay, I'm still having a terrible time with inset collars. I love how they look, but they're a total pain to get in correctly, but eventually I got it in decently. So I set about finishing it, hand hemming the sleeves, but when I done with that I realized something... the collar was set in wrong. One side ended up being much bigger than the other. There was no way I could fix it without having to take a lot of it apart. So I decided to just start over. It was just easier to begin again than undo what I had done. Plus I could fix a couple things that I didn't like on the first one.
The second one came out better than the first. I made sure that stupid collar went in right and looked darn near perfect. I guess that even with that first one being a mess up I still liked how this outfit was looking since I got the entire thing done. I even put more buttons on it (I swear I'm not obsessed with these buttons). It's a cute look. I managed to make her a pair of white knee socks today as well. It's slim pickings for shoes around here, but she managed to get a pair of white Barbie sneaker/fake Saddle shoes. They were Charlotte's, but she rarely wears them, so she was fine giving them up. I promise there will be pictures, but not tonight. I'm too tired to be wielding a camera. I literally have been sewing for a greater part of today.
But I didn't want to lose my inspiration when I had it, especially if it's for Skooter.